July 18, 2010

Softball: Carrier's calm, poise certainly championship caliber

Scarborough senior catcher Heather Carrier had few peers behind the plate, or at it.

By Mike Lowe mlowe@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

SCARBOROUGH - Her season, and career, ended two victories shy of how it was supposed to end. Senior catcher Heather Carrier did not end her Scarborough High softball career with a third Class A state championship.

click image to enlarge

Heather Carrier batted .519 as a senior, hitting six homers, four doubles and a triple. She drove in 25 runs and scored 26. But perhaps her greatest assets this year were the poise with which she handled pitchers and the class she showed opponents.

2009 Telegram file

Telegram All-State Softball

Samantha Bedore, Bangor, senior, pitcher: The Gatorade Player of the Year and Miss Maine Softball recipient, Bedore led the Rams to their first Class A title-game appearance. She was 18-2 with 230 strikeouts and a 0.60 ERA in 1281/3 innings. She also hit .453. She is heading to the University of Rhode Island. 

Alexis Bogdanovich, South Portland, junior, pitcher: Bogdanovich struck out 14 and allowed only three hits in the Riots' 1-0 win over Bangor in the Class A state title game. She went 11-1 in the regular season, with a 1.21 ERA, 108 strikeouts and nine walks in 73 innings. She also batted .472 with three home runs. 

Theresa Hendrix, Cheverus, senior, pitcher: A Miss Maine Softball finalist, Hendrix sparked the Stags from the leadoff spot, batting .651 with six home runs, six triples, 37 runs, 26 RBI and 16 stolen bases. She also was 11-4 as a pitcher with a 1.96 ERA and 119 strikeouts in 92 2/3 innings. She'll continue playing at Nyack College in New York. 

Heather Carrier, Scarborough, senior, catcher: Carrier hit .519 with four doubles, one triple and six home runs. She drove in 25 runs, scored 26 and struck out only once all season. Carrier also called all the pitches for one of the state's top staffs. She'll continue playing at Curry College. 

Janelle Bouchard, Kennebunk, sophomore, catcher: A repeat all-state selection, Bouchard is one of the most technically sound catchers in the state. Only three runners tried to steal on her and she threw out two. She also batted .604 with three triples and seven home runs and 12 stolen bases. 

Mo Hannan, Scarborough, sophomore, pitcher/shortstop: Coming off a knee injury that limited her early in the season, Hannan was still one of the top players in the SMAA. She went 6-0 in the regular season, with 65 strikeouts in 32 innings and a 0.22 ERA. She also batted .488 with four home runs, 23 runs and 25 RBI. 

Whitney Jones, Skowhegan, junior, shortstop: Jones, who is being recruited by Division I schools, batted .500 with five doubles, three triples and two home runs. She scored 30 runs, drove in 20 and stole 11 bases. In the field, she made just one error. 

Audrey Grinnell, Cheverus, senior, shortstop: Grinnell, a lefty, is a natural first baseman who played shortstop and made just one error. She hit .521 with four doubles, five triples, six home runs. She drove in 35 runs and scored 23. She will continue playing at the University of Connecticut. 

Jenn Colpitts, Scarborough, senior, outfielder/shortstop: The leadoff batter in Scarborough's potent offense, she batted .475 with 27 runs scored and was 28 for 28 in stolen bases during the regular season. 

Marika Stayte, Greely, senior, outfielder: Stayte helped the Rangers reach the Western Class B semifinals with errorless defense and strong hitting -- a .464 average with 27 RBI and 23 runs. She also stole 13 bases and struck out only twice in 76 at-bats. 

Brylie Walker, Fryeburg Academy, senior, outfielder: Walker batted .379 with two home runs and 23 runs scored and stole eight bases. She was a smooth defender, too, using her speed to cover a lot of ground. 

Katlin Norton, South Portland, junior, designated player: An elbow injury kept Norton from playing in the field until the playoffs, but she batted .608 in the regular season with three home runs, seven triples, 20 runs and 33 RBI. She hit the winning home run in the regional final and drove in the winning run in the state final. 

Coach of the Year, Fred Apt, Fryeburg Academy: Apt, in his 10th season with the Raiders, may have done his best coaching job this year even though Fryeburg's two-year reign as Class B state champion ended in the state final against Hermon. The Raiders graduated six starters from their 2009 squad and started two freshmen. But Apt got the players to believe in each other, an attitude that allowed them to rally from at least three runs down in each of their regional tournament victories.

 

Instead, the Red Storm lost to eventual state champ South Portland in the Western Class A finals. And while the ending was disappointing, Carrier was anything but upset.

"It was the greatest run and I had the best career ever," said Carrier, Scarborough's starting catcher the last three years. "I already miss it. I'm always going to remember the teammates, our friendships and the coaches I played for."

And they should remember Carrier for a long time. In a sport that is still dominated by great pitching, Carrier was our choice for the Maine Sunday Telegram softball Most Valuable Player this spring.

She batted .519 for the Red Storm this season, hitting six home runs, four doubles and a triple. She drove in 25 runs and scored 26. She also stole six bases.

More important, she called all the pitches for a talented Scarborough pitching staff. Tom Griffin, who played Carrier at first as a freshman because he already had an all-state catcher and knew she deserved to play on the varsity, gave her those duties her sophomore season.

"Her leadership ability was outstanding," said Griffin. "She's a great example of a kid whose value goes beyond the statistics. She was someone the kids could rally around. And the way she dealt with the pitchers, keeping them calm and confident, was amazing."

It helped that her father, Mark, was a catcher in high school at South Portland, handling the pitches of a kid named Billy Swift, who went on to UMaine and major league fame.

"Yeah, he taught me some things about catching," said Heather Carrier, who will attend Curry College in Milton, Mass. "He loves the game and taught me how to call a game and what to look for in a batter, where she's standing, how she's standing. He helped me because he knows the game. And when we watch games on television, he always points out little things."

Teammates and opposing coaches and players had deep respect for Carrier. So did umpires, who are supposed to be impartial.

Dennis Crowe, one of the better softball umpires in the area, said he will remember how she handled defeat -- with a smile.

"She was a key player on that team," he said. "I've always said that the catcher is such a key individual in how the team reacts and she clearly set the tone for that team on the field. She was an obvious leader."

Carrier was coming off a tough junior year offensively and was determined to hit better this spring.

She worked hard all winter and it paid off. "Last year I was down on myself and I don't know what happened," she said. "I just wanted to end on a good note."

She will play softball at Curry, though she may move to the outfield.

"That's something I could do, we'll see," she said. "Catching, you're in the game, you're always touching the ball, you're a huge part of the team.

"There have been times I've wanted to change, to the outfield, but catching is where I belong."

 


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